Register Now for the


JW Marriott Chicago
151 West Adams, Chicago

Friday, December 3, 2021
10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.

Register Here For Luncheon And Breakout Sessions

The IMA Annual Luncheon returns in-person with the popular Breakout Education Sessions held virtually each day of the week. The Annual Luncheon features keynote remarks and celebration of the Manufacturer of the Year and Member Milestone Anniversary Awards!

Attendees must be fully vaccinated or show proof of negative test within 72 hours. All relevant City and State masking requirements will be followed.


Paul Zikopoulos

Award-Winning Author, Speaker, Future Trends Expert, and VP of Technology Group Skills Vitality & Enablement at IBM

In a rapidly transforming world, data has become the new competitive advantage. And according to future trends expert Paul Zikopoulos, “Every day we walk by solvable problems, leaving opportunities untapped.” The VP of Technology Unit Skills & Enablement at IBM, Zikopoulos discusses how working these “solvable problems” creates disruption in the marketplace and how golden signals of opportunity can be found within mountains of noise.

Paul is changing the way audiences are looking at their businesses in terms of potential sales, obstacles, potential for growth, and how they utilize technology, such as cloud applications, to support their organizations. Paul shares future trends that are starting to happen in real-time and have multiple applications: from garbage cans that alert sanitation departments when they need collection – saving cities millions – to shampoo brands that are connecting weather forecasts with personal consumer profiles to suggest the right mix of hair products for the day. He easily discusses the next generation of technological change from the power of machine learning and voice-to-text, to the opportunities in reading digital body language and joining the Internet of Things trillion sensor economy, and more.

At IBM, Paul leads from the front, owning accountability and strategic direction in a “tech years are like dog years” world for the entire IBM Technology Unit’s (all IBM software and hardware) sales, tech sales, and partner ecosystem learning journeys, and upskilling programs. Paul is an award-winning tech thought leader and writer who has shared his expertise on AI and big data on the popular TV show, 60 Minutes, as well as in publications such as Technopedia and Analytics Week. He has published 21 books, including The AI Ladder and three ‘For Dummies’ titles, and more than 360 articles during his, as he calls it, accidental 26-year career as a data nerd — which he began with no prior coding experience. Among the leading voices in tech and big data, Paul has been named in dozens of global “Experts to Follow” & “Influencers” lists, including Analytics Insight’s “Top 100 Global AI & Big Data Influencers” and SAP’s “50 Big Data Twitter Influencers.” Currently, he is writing an O’Reilly book on Hybrid Cloud. An expert in harnessing the power of big data, Paul brings real world experience from his at time managing more than 1,400 professionals to help groups build influence and affect change in their organization.

Paul has taken an active role in bolstering Women in Technology, LGBT and general workplace inclusivity (completing an intensive D&I certificate at Cornell University), and Coding for Veterans. He is a seated board member for Women 2.0, a global network and social platform for aspiring and current female founders of technology ventures, as well as on the world-recognized Masters of Management Analytics and AI program boards at Canada’s prestigious Queen’s University.


Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is proud to announce Gilster-Mary Lee’s selection as the recipient of the 2021 Barry L. MacLean Manufacturer of the Year that will be awarded at the IMA’s Annual Luncheon on December 3, 2021.

“Gilster-Mary Lee embodies the best of the best in American manufacturing with its focus on workforce opportunities and community safety. I’m so proud to recognize Gilster-Mary Lee as the 2021 Barry L. MacLean Manufacturer of the Year in Illinois,” said Mark Denzler, IMA president & CEO. “With a history spanning more than 120 years, Gilster-Mary Lee is now a leading private-label food manufacturing company with more than 3,000 employees at thirteen facilities in three states. During the pandemic, they’ve provided incredible leadership with a partnership with the Autism Workforce, and have promoted COVID-19 vaccination throughout their community. Gilster-Mary Lee’s innovation, integrity, and investment in our communities is making the world a better place every single day.”

The IMA’s annual award recognizes a company for their leadership in six core areas:

  • Manufacturing Advocacy: Serves as a strong voice for the manufacturing industry at the local, state, or national level.
  • Operational Excellence: Creates a profound and lasting impact on stakeholders, companies, markets, and suppliers within the manufacturing sector with a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Innovation & Technology: Committed to innovation, Research & Development, transformative product development, or technological advances.
  • Workforce Development & Diversity: Focused on building the next generation of leaders through support of education and workforce development programs.
  • Community Engagement: Demonstrates long-term commitment to local community, charitable, and philanthropic efforts.
  • Sustainability: Supports sustainable methods of production and elimination of non-value added activities from operations.


10:00 AM – 11:30 AM: Registration

10:30 AM – 11:45 AM: Networking Reception and Exhibits

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Lunch Program

Virtual Breakout Session 1:

Energy Landscape and its Financial Impact for Manufacturers
Monday, November 29
2:00 P.M. – 3:30 P.M.
Presented by Constellation & FTI Consulting

Virtual Breakout Session 2:

2022 and Beyond:
Economic Forecast
Tuesday, November 30
10:00 – 11:00
Presented by BMO Wealth Management

Virtual Breakout Session 3:

Panel – Supply Chain Opportunity
Wednesday, December 1
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Presented by RSM US

Virtual Breakout Session 4:

Addressing Workforce Challenges
Thursday, December 2
10:00 a.m. – Noon
Presented by the IMA Education Foundation

Hotel Room Block Reservations

The IMA has reserved a block of hotel rooms that are available until Thursday, November 11, 2021. To reserve a room in that block, please click below.
Hotel Room Block Reservations

Sponsorship Opportunities

Event Sponsor – $20,000

Includes premier seating and registration for two tables of 10

Program Sponsor – $15,000 

Includes registration for two tables of 10

Lunch Sponsor – $10,000

Includes registration for table of 10

Networking Reception Sponsor – $5,000

Includes registration for one table of 10

Gold – $2,500

Includes registration for one table of 10

Table Sponsor – $1,500

Includes registration for table of 10

Sponsorships must be confirmed by November 12 to be recognized in all promotional materials please

Sponsor Info

Thank you to the following sponsors for their generous support of the 2021 IMA Annual Luncheon.